Integrate Content & Design

Jan
21
2015

There are two approaches to website content creation that I encounter on a regular basis.

The first comes from a Design First perspective. From this point of view, a site’s design is most important. After it’s designed, the writer’s job is to fit the content within the design.

The second is a Content First approach. Bill Gates said “Content is King” and so this should be the best strategy, yes? Write the copy first, and then design around it.

Both of these come out of an assembly line production mindset. Until recently, people built website one step at a time. With a Content First project, copy happens first, then design. Lastly, it’s built. Each of these activities happens almost independently of each other. I think that this mindset needs to shift. We’re not manufacturing Model T’s, after all.

What I’m suggesting is a more integrated approach. Copywriters, designers, and developers should be working together to create a unified approach to the elements of a site. Then they can create each component, nearly in parallel. Writers and developers should be part of initial design meetings. They should talk about how the Home page is going to look, where the copy will live, and how much of it there will be. Developers can then weigh in on the difficulty of proposed elements that the designers are dreaming up, and for which copy is required.

Neither content nor design should dictate the other. They should be integrated. How they augment each other needs to be part of the strategy for writing, designing, and developing a site. When this happens, projects are better designed, and achieve the client's goals more efficiently.

The Great Rabbit Mark

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